Congressman Anthony Brindisi hosted a virtual broadband summit with Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and local guests. Brindisi announced the results of his first-of-its- kind NY-22 broadband survey.
Key findings from the report highlighted lackluster coverage throughout the district, a general dissatisfaction with local internet providers, and the startling statistic that NY-22 is home to the slowest broadband speeds in the state.
“The state of broadband in New York’s 22nd district is unacceptable,” Brindisi said. “Our rural communities lack access to reliable and affordable broadband and it is hurting our economy, our small businesses, our working families, and our children. While internet companies continue to get break promises while cashing our checks, our survey results show that our district has the slowest speeds in the state.”
Brindisi, who conducted this district wide survey online and via mail, revealed key findings from the survey and discussed his plan of action with FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel.
Brindisi outlined four key steps to increasing broadband speeds and coverage in the region that can be taken at a federal and state level:
- Smarter decisions with better data. Shockingly, the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t even know what areas have broadband and what areas don’t. They rely on outdated maps that misdirect government funds, leaving behind rural areas that need broadband infrastructure. The FCC must collect better data and target investments where they are truly needed.
- Bigger broadband buildout. Federal agencies such as the FCC and US Department of Agriculture must work with state and local governments to ensure that investments in broadband infrastructure go to unserved and underserved areas. Regulators must closely monitor cable and internet companies to ensure they are bringing access to new homes and fulfilling their legal obligations.
- Stronger oversight of taxpayer dollars. ISPs often under-deliver when they use government programs to pay for broadband expansion. There must be stronger oversight to ensure that ISPs are delivering the speeds required when they take government subsidies.
- Greater market competition. Many of the problems facing customers, such as rising prices and poor customer service, would be fixed with more choices in the market. Free market competition would allow ISPs, including local companies, co-ops, and municipalities to compete for customers.
Commissioner Rosenworcel agreed with Brindisi’s assessment and vowed to work with him to increase access for all New Yorkers.
Brindisi was joined at the summit by Town of Lebanon Supervisor Jim Goldstein. Goldstein spoke about his rural community’s struggles with lackluster broadband. He shared his personal story about broadband access in his town and praised Brindisi for his efforts on the issue.
“Rural areas are suffering from a lack of broadband access,” said Lebanon Town Supervisor James Goldstein. “Kids can’t do their schoolwork, parents can’t do their jobs, telemedicine is practically impossible, and economic growth is being cut off. Rural broadband is also critical for first responders and emergency services. We need action, and I appreciate Congressman Brindisi’s leadership on this issue and his commitment to fight on our behalf in Congress.”
Brindisi, no stranger to fights with internet service providers, vowed to continue to hold their feet to the fire and look for ways to increase accountability, transparency and competition.
“Battling with internet providers has been a lifelong fight for me,” Brindisi added. “And I’m not going to throw in the towel until every home in our district has access to reliable, affordable broadband.”
A copy of Brindisi’s entire report is available HERE.